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The Mapping of North America

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An UNRECORDED LARGE SCALE MAP OF NEWMARKET HEATH complete with race courses. John Chapman (fl.1770-77) is best known for his fabulous large scale survey of the county of Essex first published in 1777. Chapman was a surveyor, publisher and engraver. Worms & Baynton-Williams allude to his being an architect who exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1772. At the time his address was given as ‘Mr. Rocque’s, West St., Seven Dials’ which was the address of Mary Ann Rocque, John Rocque’s widow. He both engraved and published a plan of the town of Newmarket of smaller size at an unknown date which is ascribed to c.1770. Following his death a number of his plates came into the possession of William Faden who particularly republished the town plan in the same year as this 1787. An example resides in the King’s Topographical Collection in the British Library. Nearby may be found ‘A Plan of Newmarket Heath’ by John Bodger with a publication date of 1787. This has an identical date and short title to the one being offered but curiously no obvious link exists between the two. Their priority is also unknown. Although not listed online our research also located an example of this map in the King’s Collection (Maps K.Top.8.70).

This large map is drawn on the scale of four inches to the mile, the scale bar being broken down into furlongs. Indeed the focus of the map is on the various race courses in the area. It extends from the town of Newmarket in the east to Willbraham in the west and Swaffham in the north. The centre of the map details the courses each with individual starting post. A key below the title lists them with their relevant lengths. All the roads and lanes are detailed as are many located buildings including the homes of various notable individuals. An extremely ornate cartouche lower left features the scale of miles and a table hung between two trees detailing the various race meetings in the calendar. It is finished off with two fine race horses complete with jockeys. Newmarket Race Course is the home of horse racing. The year 1762 marked the beginning of racing fixtures all of which survive to this day.

No reference is made to this map in Worms & Baynton-Williams or Tooley’s Dictionary. It is not listed on Town Maps of Great Britain indicating no institutional copies. A check on COPAC and the British Library Online Catalogue also finds no example recorded. A superb example of an UNRECORDED item. Eden (1975) ‘Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Cartographers’; Tooley’s Dictionary; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).

CHAPMAN, John

A Plan of Newmarket Heath, and the Country Adjacent; describing, all the Race Courses now used. Surveyed by J: Chapman

William Faden, London, March 31 1787
665 x 1020 mm., cut and dissected and re-laid on recent linen, in very good condition.
Stock number: 8174

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